This is a terrific pick-up for the Islanders and a big step up for Neuvirth, who’ll have a chance at some post-season success.
Obviously, the Buffalo Sabres have called it quits on this season and maybe a few others too. They are, along with the Arizona Coyotes, seriously pushing it to acquire significant draft picks due to the value that’ll be available this year. It’s hard to say that a team would throw the season to finish dead last to win the draft lottery, but…
With Neuvirth, the Islanders are getting a nice back-up for Jaroslav Halak.
In 27 games this season, the 26-year-old netminder has won just six. He’s posted a goals against average of 2.99 with a .918 save percentage. Given the fact that he plays for, you know, the Sabres, those numbers are a little easier to digest. He will benefit from playing on Long Island. Honest.
Meanwhile, Johnson becomes the seventh goalie to play for the Sabres in the past 14 months. He’s got a 3.08 goals against average and a .889 save percentage over the course of 19 games this season. He won eight of those games and will not join Anders Lindback in Buffalo, which subsequently ties up the race to the bottom of the NHL.
In other words, the Sabres are making a serious but unofficial bid for the basement and are contending with the fire sale Coyotes and the awful, awful Edmonton Oilers. All the aforementioned teams are selling like mad.
The Islanders win big with this deal because insurance matters in the post-season and Halak will need a breather or two. Putting Neuvirth in there means the team can play with confidence. The Sabres, meanwhile, get what they want. Whether you call that a win or not is up to you.
Follow us on Twitter @HockeyDraft, okay? Okay.